It’s Not Just You. It’s The Superstars, Too.

Hey there!

I want to thank my ACX Master Class student Jim Cassidy, and my VO2GoGo Pro client Mike Russo for simultaneously bringing this bit of video to my attention. And I’m calling this to your attention incase you’re one of the last people in the world of audiobook narration that hasn’t seen this clip.

If you thought you were the only audiobook narrator who had trouble getting out a particular stream of words every now and then, let no less than the venerable Stephen Fry put your mind at ease with this moment at the Hay Festival recently, where he recounted a particularly difficult moment with his narrating of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Link to full Hay Festival video on Facebook:
Link to full excerpt video on YouTube:

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Hope this helps!


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Raw YouTube Captioning

hey there it’s David H Lawrence the 17th
and I am a member of a number of
Facebook groups that revolve around
audio book narration and production I
teach audio book narration and
production both in the vo to go GoPro
curriculum and in the ACX master class
and I want to take a moment to thank
both Jim Cassidy one of my ACX master
class students and my crew so one of my
vo to go GoPros for kind of
simultaneously like within three seconds
of each other I saw both of their posts
about this little bit of video that I
want to share with you in those groups
that I’m in of professionals that share
ideas and share criticisms and comments
and little tidbits here and there every
so often somebody posts the phrase
that’s giving them trouble that day and
it’s usually a tongue twister but often
it’s a phrase that usually you wouldn’t
think of as being hard to do and so we
all tend to think that because we are
working a audio book narrator’s and
maybe we’re still just you know
beginning to learn how to do that that
we’re the only ones that have problems
with that well let me tell you that that
couldn’t be further from the truth even
the celebrities even the a-listers even
the people that we look at with awe and
respect and hope someday to be where
they are they have problems when they
narrate audiobooks as well just because
they’re celebrities doesn’t mean they
don’t make mistakes and we sometimes
forget that we think well it’s just me
I’m the only one that’s having problems
with this I mean people that know what
they’re doing they would never have
problems with us well no less than
Stephen Fry who is just revered around
the world and one of the one of the joys
of acting and comedy and audio book
narration he narrates the British
versions of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter
and recently at the hay festival which
is put on by BBC Wales he recounted a
bit of an incident that might make you
feel better the next time you are
struggling with a phrase or a series of
words check it out but I remember in
that book and this is the thing about
reading when you read a book for
recording I can usually go fairly well
without making too many mistakes I mean
some actors slower and some you know
quicker but I try not to yeah thank you
I’m not I’m not saying this to show off
because actually this I come out of this
very badly but there was one phrase and
this is what happens that tripped me up
it was just three words it’s ridiculous
three words and and I I couldn’t say it
and the three words were hairy pocketed
it I still can’t say hairy pocket did it
did Harry say I can say Harry and I can
say pocketed and I can say it but I
can’t say Harry pocketed EDD I always
that’s how we were doing I was going
Harry pocket did it and Jo Jo Rowling
wasn’t in the studio because this was
the third book I think the Azkaban book
and there were the Dementors and
everything and and I did everyone
started laughing and it used to do
engineer in the studio I said look I
said can we come back to Harry Potter to
visit at the end of the day maybe I just
tried so at lunchtime I call up Jo
Rowling and I say I’m it’s now she had
very I think wisely from the beginning
even when it was just one book she had
wanted the audiobook to be complete
unabridged not condensed in any way as
sometimes audiobooks are because she
felt that if children are reading it and
listening at the same time they would be
annoyed if their if it was different and
so she wanted so it was very important
that we got it exactly right so I called
her up and said look do you mind I can’t
say Harry pocket did the deed would it
be okay if I said Harry put it in his
pocket and she there was a big pause the
other line and she said no
in her best which she’s Royce and I
could just hear the smile in the voice
when she said it so I managed to get it
out but this is a mark of the woman the
phrase Harry pocketed it appears in
every subsequent see what I mean it’s
even them it’s not just you everybody
leaves their mistakes on the cutting
room floor and everybody is required to
do what the rights holder wants them to
do so there you go now in case you
thought that Stephen Fry was kind of
starting some sort of urban legend that
JK Rowling because of what happened put
Harry pocketed it in subsequent books no
no YouTube user n3t man actually went
through all of the subsequent books and
found harry pocketed it so here we go
here’s number one Harry Potter and the
Philosopher’s Stone this is the one that
Stephen had trouble with Harry ran
upstairs to the dark dormitory he pulled
out the cloak and then his eyes fell on
the flute Hagrid had given him for
Christmas he pocketed it to use on
fluffy okay and now Harry Potter in the
Chamber of Secrets in chapter 13 the
very secret diary well it’s not much
used to you said Ron he dropped his
voice fifty points if you can get it
through myrtles nose Harry however
pocketed it okay second one Harry Potter
and the Goblet of Fire in both chapter
nine the dark mark and in chapter 23 the
Yule Ball mr. Diggory handed Harry his
wand and Harry pocketed it he pulled
serious reply off penguins leg
Harry pocketed it and they hurried back
to Gryffindor Tower to read it and then
in Harry Potter and the order of the
Phoenix chapter six the noble and most
ancient house of black it’s there too
but the moment mrs. Weasley’s back was
turned he pocketed it with a wink and
then finally Harry Potter and the
half-blood prince chapter 22 after the
burial Hagrid became tearful again and
pressed the whole unicorn tail upon
Slughorn who pocketed it with cries of
to friendship to generosity so there you
go she really did put four books very
but the point here is we often get
wrapped up in our journey thinking we’re
not far enough and because we’re not far
enough we make mistakes that people who
are further along don’t make don’t think
that know that it’s everybody it’s part
of the business it’s part of what we do
I’m so I’m so glad to be able to share
this with you if you have any phrases
that give you trouble leave me a comment
below I mean I’m sure you do and if
you’ve also been able to figure out how
to let go of that whole idea of I’m not
far enough along yet to be fantastic or
I’m so far along why am I still keeping
why don’t we still keep making these
mistakes leave me a comment if you’re
watching this on vo – go go comm leave
the comment below this video if you’re
not pop over there because we’ve got
some really great things to help you
with your audio book narration if you’d
like to join my youtube channel go ahead
and click on my head there if there’s no
head look for a subscribe button
somewhere on the page and if you’d like
to see the latest video that I’ve done
go ahead and click on that frame and
YouTube will play it for you I’m David H
Lawrence xvii I thank you so much for
watching and I will talk to you tomorrow.

5 Responses to It’s Not Just You. It’s The Superstars, Too.

  1. David Wandelt June 17, 2019 at 3:11 am #

    I have found that almost invariably, if I’m having trouble getting a particular phrase out, I’m speaking too fast.if I just slow down a little bit, I can usually overcome the stumble.

  2. Mike Russo June 17, 2019 at 6:32 am #

    I GOT A SHOUT OUT! I feel just like when Princess Fiona called Donkey a noble steed in “Shreck”. Glad that you liked the video, and I’m glad that I could help.

  3. Mary Zajac June 17, 2019 at 7:58 am #

    After many attempts, I remember when I couldn’t say the word “previously”. My producer said to me “Try to say the word previously like you have said it previously!” I busted out laughing and then we got the take done properly. I have a friend who likes to say he is best friends with takes 7 and 8. I always think of this whenever I get stuck!

  4. Chris Buckner June 17, 2019 at 8:33 am #

    I have definitely been tripped up on words outside of VO, words I’ve said many times but one day they just seemed difficult. I will think back to the video you shared if I ever get tripped up on a word while doing VO. Thanks for the video David.

  5. Tom Johnson June 17, 2019 at 1:18 pm #

    Grasps, gasps and other words similar to those.

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